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Huntington Ingalls Industries‘ (HII) Ingalls Shipbuilding division has initiated fabrication of the US Navy’s future Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Delbert D Black (DDG 119).

The destroyer has been named in honour of the first master chief petty officer of the navy (MCPON).

Master chief gunner mate Delbert Black was selected to be the senior adviser of the navy, and the title was later changed to MCPON.

The MCPON acts as an advocate and voice of all sailors and their families, apart from discharging responsibilities of the senior enlisted adviser to the chief of naval operations.

The DDG 119 is the third destroyer under the fiscal 2013 to 2017 multi-year procurement contract to begin fabrication.

Program Executive Office (PEO) Ships DDG 51 class programme manager captain Mark Vandroff said: "I am excited to see DDG 119 production starting off strong.

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"This ship will not only honour a great navy leader, it will serve as a testament to all our current and future senior enlisted leaders."

"This ship will not only honour a great navy leader, it will serve as a testament to all our current and future senior enlisted leaders of the value the navy places on their service. My team was greatly honoured to have Mrs. Black present at the Start of Fabrication and looks forward to her enthusiasm guiding us during the ship’s construction."

Ingalls will build the 32nd Arleigh Burke-class destroyer using modular construction, where pre-fabricated units are constructed separately and then lifted in place and integrated with other units.

The Arleigh Burke-class multi-mission combatants can execute missions from peacetime presence and crisis management to sea control and power projection.

The vessels support carrier battle groups, surface action groups, amphibious groups, and replenishment groups.

Image: Black’s widow Ima starts a plasma cutter machine at Ingalls Shipbuilding, officially beginning construction of the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer, Delbert D Black (DDG 119). Photo: courtesy of Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc.